“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity  that is not hampered by opinion.” 

Red Haircrow

Oftentimes, when I feel creative, I start with whatever I have in front of me. That often leads to frustration and I crumble up the paper or abandon it within half an hour. Why? Because usually, what I have within reach is a pen and a piece of paper, and I'm not very good at drawing. Often what I see in my head is worlds away from what I actually sketch.

But if I'm smart, I move away from pen and ink before thoughts of giving up overtake me, and I grab my collage and paint supplies. What I appreciate about these items is that they seem more forgiving of my limited abilities. They help me create without criticism. With pen and ink, it's so black and white. It's obvious when my start line and end line don't touch exactly to create the illusion of perfection. It's obvious when my hand gets shaky or tired - the lines start smooth and confident and then a muscle twitch blows the whole thing to hell.

So, paint, old magazines and ephemera become my way to embrace my sloppy, imprecise methods and they actually celebrate with me when "mistakes" happen. Fine artists who have mastered the art of "copying" from nature would scoff, certainly, but for me, art is all about expression. I actually find realism a little bit... boring.

Of course, I admire the craft that someone had to master in order to make an orange look like an orange, but I guess I would rather look at an orange that had something to say about the artist - their mood or their history or something more than "i am an orange."

I like humorous people and I like art that makes me smile - or even wince. So, I guess my approach is playful. I like to play when I'm making art. If it's not fun, what's the point?

So, I guess what I'm saying is that your art, my art, should reflect the kid inside you that wants to escape the doldrums of school (or work) and just let loose. Next time your doodles or drawings disappoint you, I encourage you to reach for something a little different - something that invites your inner child to get messy.